SPEED TEST: x86 vs. ARM for Web Crawling in Python

Can you imagine if your job was to trawl competitor websites and jot  prices down by hand, again and again and again? You’d burn your whole office down by lunchtime.

So, little wonder web crawlers are huge these days. They can keep track of customer sentiment and trending topics, monitor job openings, real estate transactions, UFC results, all sorts of stuff.

For those of a certain bent, this is fascinating stuff. Which is how I found myself playing around with Scrapy, an open source web crawling framework written in Python.

Being wary of the potential to do something catastrophic to my computer while poking with things I didn’t understand, I decided to install it on my main machine but a Raspberry Pi.

And wouldn’t you know it? It actually didn’t run too shabby on the little tacker. Maybe this is a good use case for an ARM server?

Google had no solid answer. The nearest thing I found was this Drupal hosting drag race, which showed an ARM server outperforming a much more expensive x86 based account.

That was definitely interesting. I mean, isn’t a web server kind of like a crawler in reverse? But with one operating on a LAMP stack and the other on a Python interpreter, it’s hardly the exact same thing.

So what could I do? Only one thing. Get some VPS accounts and make them race each other.

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Adding PWM, a Free Password Reset Tool, to a Windows Network

People asking you to reset their passwords all the time?

Would it lighten your workload to have them reset it themselves with a web-based interface?

Trying to implement a better password policy to break your users out of bad practices?

Well, there’s a Microsoft service that can handle this for you. But there are license costs. And it turns out that it’s actually not even as good as the open source alternative: PWM. This is a very powerful, self-service password reset tool that integrates with your existing MS Active Directory infrastructure using LDAP.

This guide will show you how to configure PWM start to finish with SSL cert installation and MYSQL database setup included.

I will be using Ubuntu Server 16.04 for this guide. I have tried with 18.04 but with varying degrees of success. It seems that 18.04, at the time of writing this article, has some compatibility issues with some of the packages that get installed in the process.

The official installation instructions are actually pretty good – even a Windows guy like me could figure out most of it. But I got stuck a bit trying to configure the SSL certificates and configuring PWM to use a remote database. Having taken the effort to figure these bits out, I wanted to share what I’d done to make it easier for the next guy 🙂

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